Bemerton Children’s Centre

  • Sector: Community & Education
  • Client: Cambridge Education at Islington
  • Location: Islington, London
  • Construction Cost: £700,000
  • Size: 770 sq.m
  • Status: Completed

We won a competition as part of the Sure Start Education programme to refurbish Bemerton School, which occupies the ground floor of a 1960’s medium-rise social housing block on a rundown estate in Islington. The Sure Start philosophy is to integrate all the services for preschool children to achieve the most benefit while acting as a safety net for the vulnerable. And they achieve this by providing new, flexible and exciting ways to create ‘joined-up’ ways of working at a community level.

By removing non-structural partitions, the design presents curved walls that sweep past the ends of the spine walls forming a seductive and interesting internal ‘street’ between the various activities. Onto this there are porched entrances and bay windows to allow glimpses through to the class rooms, while providing little ‘window seat nooks’ for occasional quiet reading or small-scale activities. Reduced ceiling heights further modify the level of intimacy and the use of colour encourages inquiry.